Today Karel Henneberger, one of the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe crew, is filling in for me while I recuperate from shoulder surgery. Over the next couple of weeks, Karel will pitch in to give expert advice.
Karel is a business owner, a teacher, and an author. She specializes in Children’s Literature. She also has a keen sense of humor! So without further adieu, here’s a message from Karel.
10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young After 50–or 45 or even 30
As our brains age, we may not remember new facts as easily as we did in early adulthood. However, we can do much to help our brains retain “muscle mass.” Regardless of your physical condition, there are many ways to increase your brain activity.
- DO CROSSWORD PUZZLES. Not just the pick-a-word puzzles, but the real crossword puzzles with clues and frustration. There are many crossword puzzle books available in grocery and drug stores. Easy ones are great for beginners or when you are frazzled. For more difficult puzzles, subscribe to a crossword puzzle magazine. Crossword puzzles can be done anywhere—in the car (not while driving), in a doctor’s office, or while waiting in line. You can even do crossword puzzles online.
- DO JIGSAW PUZZLES. Jigsaw puzzles can be fun to do. And you can get kits to make the end result permanent. Hang a finished puzzle on your wall to add beauty as well as to show off your expertise. If you have dexterity problems, choose puzzles with larger pieces. Special 3-D puzzles are available for advanced puzzlers!
- LOGIC PUZZLES TAKE TIME, BUT THEY CAN BE REWARDING and they help you retain your strategy skills. This type of puzzle is best done alone with plenty of time available in a single stretch.
- SODUKO may not be for the numerically challenged, but for anyone else, this type of puzzle can become addictive. Newspapers usually carry a Soduko puzzle and your local grocery or drug store will have Soduko books available.
- LEARN A NEW SKILL. Take up knitting or crocheting—men can knit and crochet, too. Make prayer shawls or cancer caps for those in need of comfort. Large knitting needles and crochet hooks help arthritic hands remain flexible. And the recipients will appreciate the results.
- GO TO COLLEGE. College isn’t just for those in their 20s. Not these days. Some people in their 80s are taking courses. And colleges are welcoming them. Many states offer to pay part or all of older students’ tuition costs, so out-of-pocket expenses are small. Most colleges offer low- or no-cost non-credit courses to seniors, too. Check with your local community college. Some colleges even offer free courses online–you won’t have to take a test or turn in homework, but you also won’t get credit for the course. And with online courses, you don’t even have to leave your chair. Older adults may not learn facts as quickly as teens, but we have years of experience behind us that make up for our slower learning curve.
- WATCH OR LISTEN TO EDUCATIONAL TAPES OR DVDs. Your local library probably has a wide variety available. Most allow you to borrow them for a week or more and they’re usually renewable. Topics range from travel and science to religion and history. Some are complete with lesson plans, others are docudramas or made-for-TV shows.
- GIVE TO OTHERS. Volunteer. Join a literacy program, be an adopted grandparent, or help with Meals-On-Wheels. Even if you aren’t very physically active, you can do much for an organization online or on the phone. Keep your brain young by doing—something. Helping others is a good way to help yourself and to stay young. Using old skills keeps that old brain working. And learning new skills is an even better way to keep your brain young.
- GET “INTO” A SOCIAL NETWORK. Have a child or teen help you get started with Facebook, YouTube, or Flikr. This not only works your brain in new ways, it will draw you closer to those ever-changing youngsters in your life.
- KEEP A JOURNAL. Writing uses several parts of your brain–Your brain must make sure your eyes focus on the paper or computer screen. Part of your brain controls your hand movements–important for hitting the correct keys or making legible letters. Then, of course, there’s the part of your brain–the left side–that makes sure you think creatively. Maybe you’ll write only for yourself. Or you might write memoirs for your family. Whatever. Just start writing.
You may purchase Karel Henneberger’s latest published work at one of the following links:
If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still get the book by downloading FREE Kindle for PC software from Amazon.com. Go here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771
I love that “get “into” a social network” one -> My grams didn’t get on Facebook until her mid 80s, and was on it everyday to check in with everyone until she passed at 89.
And my favorite puzzles are those Mahjong games – Soduko started tickin’ me off. 😉 But if you want a REAL challenge, do one of those new 3D puzzles with a little kid. My son loves ’em, but they’re weird to look at.
I’ll make sure to tell Karel about Mahjong. My oxy- addled brain is hiding under the pillow at the thought of a 3-D puzzle at this particular moment. 🙂